March 27, 2020
Note: The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits typically provides the Nonprofit Policy Matters newsletter as a benefit to its nonprofit members . However, because the news includes several major policy changes that could significantly help nonprofits, we're sharing this newsletter with all NC nonprofits
In this issue...
U.S. House passed CARES Act with major COVID-19 relief for nonprofits
Join an online nonprofit town hall next Thursday
Center provides input as NC House begins developing COVID-19 relief solutions
Help! (and where do I go to get help?)
Census tip of the week: Check out the Census response rate in your county
Extension of tax filing deadline to July 15 does not apply to most nonprofits
Executive order closes some businesses (including some nonprofit operations)
U.S. House Passed CARES Act with Major COVID-19 Relief for Nonprofits
The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The bill provides significant relief for nonprofits struggling through the COVID-19 crisis and for many of their employees and clients. Four provisions of the bill are of particular importance to charitable nonprofits:
  1. Most nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees will have access to forgivable small business loans to nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees that will allow them to cover the costs of payroll, operations, and debt service during the COVID-19 crisis. These loans, known as SBA 7(a) loans, will be forgiven for organizations that maintain their staff between March 1 and June 30, essentially turning them into grants. 
  2. The bill includes significant unemployment relief for workers and (partially) for many nonprofits. Workers who lose their jobs for Coronavirus-related reasons – including employees of churches, religious nonprofits, and small charitable nonprofits (under four employees) – will be eligible for $600 per week of supplemental unemployment benefits (paid by the federal government). The federal government will also pay for half of the unemployment claims of self-insured nonprofits, leaving these organizations responsible for reimbursing states for the other half of these costs.
  3. Regardless of whether they itemized, taxpayers can use a (limited) universal charitable deduction for 2020, capped at $300 per year. The bill also strengthens incentives for businesses and high-income Americans to give more generously to support the work of nonprofits. 
  4. To help preserve jobs and businesses, Congress included a wide variety of appropriations that will help many types of nonprofits.

The CARES Act also includes direct payments to Americans, including payments to adults of $1,200 and $500 per child ($3,400 for a family of four) to be sent out by mid-April. The amount of the payments phases out for high-income adults.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bill on Wednesday night. President Trump is expected to sign the CARES Act into law.
Join an Online Nonprofit Town Hall Next Thursday
To keep your nonprofit in the loop on current information, the Center is hosting a nonprofit public policy discussion on Thursday, April 2 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. This free webinar will include updates on the latest federal and state legislative and executive relief efforts to help nonprofits respond to the COVID-19 crisis, along with a discussion about the needs nonprofits have right now – both operationally and as service providers – and a (quick) briefing on the state of North Carolina’s nonprofit sector and current (and future) public policy issues affecting nonprofits. Register now.
Center Provides Input as NC House Begins Developing COVID-19 Relief Solutions
This week, the NC House of Representatives began its process of providing support to individuals, businesses, and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The House has formed four working groups on health care, economic support, education, and continuity of state operations to develop policy solutions that provide immediate and long-term relief to North Carolinians. All of the working groups have bipartisan chairs. Three of these working groups held their first meetings this week. If your nonprofit has suggestions for ways the state can help your organization, your community, or those you serve, please share this input with these working groups through the House’s online comments portal. We encourage you to share your input with the Center so we can help with your advocacy.

The Center continues to work with the Governor’s Office and legislative leaders to ensure that the state includes the needs of nonprofits in its COVID-19 relief efforts. Specifically, the Center has asked the COVID-19 Economic Support working group to help nonprofits in six important ways:
  1. Continue to pay nonprofits fully on their state grants and contracts, even if nonprofits are unable to fulfill their deliverables due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us know if your nonprofit has a state grant or contract and may be unable to fulfill your deliverables because of COVID-19.
  2. Apply any expansion of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to all nonprofit employees and ensure that all nonprofits are fully held harmless for temporarily expanded benefits. Specifically, the Center is asking the state to hold harmless reimbursing nonprofits for the full amounts of their Coronavirus-related UI claims, since the CARES Act would only cover half of these amounts. 
  3. Ensure equitable treatment of nonprofits in any small business assistance provided by the state.
  4. Consider creating a temporary non-itemizer deduction or credit for charitable contributions on state taxes to encourage more North Carolinians to give generously to nonprofits in this time of extreme need.
  5. Provide nonprofits automatic extension of their charitable solicitation license filing and renewal deadlines.
  6. Seek regular input from nonprofits about the needs of the communities they serve.

The Center continues to refine and expand these suggestions for legislators and the Governor as we get additional information about the specific needs of nonprofits and those they serve.
Help! (And Where Do I Go to Get Help?)
Between the CARES Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) ( H.R. 6201), and several executive orders from Governor Roy Cooper, the past two weeks have seen the creation or expansion of a dizzying array of federal and state programs. Here is a quick cheat sheet of where to go to access some of these new programs and get more information about them.
  • Emergency paid sick leave and family and medical leave. FFRCA allows many workers to take emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave – and provides reimbursable payroll tax credits for nonprofits and other employers that must offer these new types of leave. The U.S. Department of Labor has developed Guidance for Employees (who is eligible, how to calculate pay, duration of leave, and more), Guidance for Employers (who is covered, qualifying reasons for leave, tax credits, and more), and FAQs on these new leave benefits.
  • Unemployment benefits. The Division of Employment Security (DES) at the NC Department of Commerce handles unemployment claims. North Carolinians who are out of work due to COVID-19 can file unemployment claims online. DES also has developed FAQs for employers whose workers are not being paid due to COVID-19. Notably, employers (including nonprofits) may be able to expedite the unemployment process by filing attached claims on behalf of their employees who are out of work. Note that DES’s system has been overwhelmed by the record number of unemployment claims filed over the past two weeks.
  • Small business loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) handles Disaster Loan Assistance, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loans that are available to nonprofits at a 2.75% interest rate. Nonprofits can apply now for these loans. Nonprofits should note that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are not forgivable. Nonprofits that are eligible for the forthcoming SBA 7(a) loans (see the description of the CARES Act above) may wish to wait for these forgivable loans to become available so they can access funding to maintain payroll and operations during the COVID-19 crisis without taking on any debt if they continue to pay their staffs. Also, nonprofits should be aware that the Golden LEAF Foundation’s new six-month, interest-free bridge loan program for short-term Coronavirus-related support is not currently available to nonprofit organizations. 

To keep up to date on a wide range of tools to help your nonprofit cope with the COVID-19 crisis, check out the Center’s ever-expanding COVID-19 resource page.
Census Tip of the Week: Check Out the Census Response Rate in Your County
A complete and accurate count in the 2020 U.S. Census is important for nonprofits since it will help ensure that North Carolina has full representation in Congress and access to federal funding that supports the work of many nonprofits. Because nonprofits are trusted messengers that often serve hard-to-count communities, it is important for all nonprofit organizations to spread the word about the importance of completing the 2020 Census. To help your nonprofit better prepare for the Census, the Center is offering a tip (sometimes more) each week between now and the official Census Day of April 1, 2020 (and probably for a while thereafter).
Census Tip of the Week
If you’re looking for a diversion during the coming weeks, check out the Census response rates for each state and for your local community. The U.S. Census Bureau is updating its map of response rates each day. As of Wednesday, 25.8% of North Carolina households had self-responded, well below the national average of 28.1%. Carolina Demography is sharing data about response rates in each North Carolina county, including information about the Census tracks with the highest and lowest response rates, and information about response rates among hard-to-count parts of the population. 

Once you have learned more about the response rate in North Carolina and in your county, take action to improve these response rates by reminding people in your (virtual) networks that they can complete the Census in three ways: (1) online; (2) by phone; or (3) by mail. If you haven’t already done so, you can also improve the response rate by completing the Census questionnaire for your own household! Nonprofit VOTE is offering a free webinar on Wednesday, April 8 from 2-3 p.m. about ways nonprofits can still “get out the count” during the COVID-19 crisis.
Extension of Tax Filing Deadline to July 15 Does Not Apply to Most Nonprofits
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department issued Notice 2020-18 to automatically postpone the tax filing deadline from April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020. Unfortunately, this tax filing relief does not apply to calendar-year nonprofits whose Form 990 tax returns are due on May 15. Because the NC Department of Revenue is following federal guidance for extensions of filing deadlines, nonprofits have also not been granted an extension in the deadline for state tax filings. National nonprofits are working with the Treasury Department on an extended filing deadline for 990s. In addition, the Center is working with state legislators to allow the NC Secretary of State greater flexibility in extending charitable solicitation filing deadlines in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Executive Order Closes Some Businesses (Including Some Nonprofit Operations)
On Monday, Governor Cooper issued an executive order prohibiting public gatherings of more than 50 people anywhere in North Carolina during the COVID-19 crisis. The executive order also temporarily closes a variety of entertainment venues in North Carolina, including gyms, swimming pools, live performance venues, and bingo sites operated by nonprofits. The executive order also limits visitors at long-term care facilities in the state (many of which are operated by nonprofits) and extended the closure of public schools to students (many of whom have parents who work for nonprofits!) through at least May 15.
Nonprofit Policy Matters is a service for current Members of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. We track state and federal policy issues that affect all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Learn about the Center's public policy priorities . For more information, contact David Heinen , Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.

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